Spooktoberfest Special: Chris vs. Tarot on ComicsAlliance



Chris Sims?! Writing about Tarot?! Believe it!

Yes, last week saw the release of the BroadSword Comics Falll 2009 promotional video, so today on ComicsAlliance, I provide minute-by-minute commentary for the announcements concerning everyone’s favorite witchity empowerment figure, who mysteriously can’t get through a swordfight to the death without becoming aroused by her far more skilled male counterpart.

Not to spoil it for anyone, but the biggest item in the video is the news that Balent is teaming up with Diamond select toys to bring Tarot into a third mind-boggling dimension, and I’ll be honest: The question here is not if I’m going to buy it, but how many.

So enjoy, and look for our annual delve into the Tarot archives later this month as Spooktoberfest rolls on!

Birthday Wrap-Up: I Got Some Presents!

In case you somehow managed to miss the last week of the ISB, and the national robo-calling campaign, and the skywriters I hired, and the message I rented out on the side of the Goodyear Blimp and my appearance on Last Call with Carson Daly, I turned 27 last Wednesday, and as you might expect from someone who celebrates his birthday with the pomp usually seen at most medium-sized college graduations, receiving tribute to my lasting awesomeness from various cretins thoughtful gifts from my good friends is one of my favorite parts.

Before I get around to what I got this year, I’ve got a few presents for you guys.

Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N. #1 finished up on my birthday, with all 25 pages of story (plus a letters page and pin-ups from Rusty Shackles and Kate Holden) available to read online or download as a .cbz file. During the writing process, I toyed with the idea of uploading it a page at a time, so I tried to have some kind of break at the end of every page (which came in handy when I decided to change the chapters), but I think it reads better all in one shot. So if you haven’t yet, give it a read.

Also, my latest article for the ComicsAlliance went up on Wednesday, in which I gave you, the readers who love to see me suffer, the greatest gift of all: I read an issue of the ICP comic and briefly reviewed it for a gallery of Nine Terrible Comics Based On Real People (and Four That Were Pretty Awesome). I may never be the same again.

Wednesday was also the day when I announced my latest project: WAR ROCKET AJAX!



So hey, remember back in 2006 when I though it would be a good idea to do a podcast while teaching myself sound editing software? Yeah, well, neither does anyone else, but for the twos of you who were clamoring for the return of my nerd-tinged Southern accent, I’m launching a new podcast this week with co-host Eugene Ahn, where we sit down with a guest every episode and talk about comics. This week’s guest? Matt Fraction. Yeah: We’re opening with the guy who writes Uncanny X-Men. That’s how War Rocket Ajax rolls. Check out the site for more news and a full-sized version of Rusty’s great logo, and I’ll keep you posted for when the first installment is dispatched.

But enough about the things I’m giving to you. What matters now is what people gave me.

First up, a tip of the party hat to pally Doctor K, who went well out of his way to make my birthday awesome and gave me a ton of books that I’m sure you’ll be seeing crop up on the ISB soon, including both the prequel novel to the GI Joe movie and the second Gabriel Hunt book, which of course is the next selection for our ISBook Club. Thanks, Dr. K!

Continuing the theme of literature, pals Richelle and Caitlin came through with the greatest gift two writers can give to another: awesomely lurid paperbacks:



Yes, it’s two installments of Jonathan Cain’s world-renowned famous published Saigon Commandos series, the long out of print cult classics that go for up to sixty-two cents on Amazon. According to Wikipedia, Cain is now a private detective in Los Angeles and one of his novels was made into a Roger Corman picture, and it’s easy to see why. #5, pictured above, might have the best title, but if the back cover copy is to be believed, #6 is the single greatest book ever published:


When an army of Vietnamese mercenaries boldly slaughters a U.S. payroll convoy, it falls to Sergeant Stryker and the MPs of the 716th to take on the bandits the only way they know how: With no mercy and with M-16s on full automatic!

The raiders, though, are only one of Stryker’s problems. He also has to flush out a sniper who shot off the face of an army chaplain right in the middle of a eulogy, survive a face-off with a hungry bengal tiger, and chase down a Commie sapper team in Saigon’s back alleys.

But Stryker, the ex-Green Beret, is used to the danger and death on the toughest beat in the wordl. And when tracers light up the night sky, every murdering slime, Cong sympathizer, and GI-hating whore will pay hell at the hands of his…


I gotta confess, I hope Richelle and Caitlin read these before they put ’em in the Snake-Eyes vs. Storm Shadow gift bag and sent them to me. Not because they’re not incredibly talented writers already, but because I’m pretty sure every single work of fiction ever would be better if it involved that series of events. Thanks, guys!

My birthday present from Kevin came early this year, and if you managed to catch me at HeroesCon, you’ve probably seen it already: Business cards featuring Solomon Stone and Minxy Flatbush, as drawn by Matthew Allen Smith in TCOSS #1:



Thanks, Kevin!

And speaking of Smithy, one of the perks of knowing a bunch of artists is that they tend to draw nice stuff for your birthday, and I got some fantastic pieces from my guys this time around.

First up, Tamas Jakab of El Gorgo knows what I’m looking for:



And Rusty Shackles drew me an awesome pin-up of Solomon Stone (or, to be honest, of Minxy Flatbush and the 3-D Zombies):



And Smithy, of course, drew me a shot of our Dream Project (or at least, my Dream Project that I’d drag him kicking and screaming onto:



Thanks guys!

But out of all of those, there’s one present that stands out above the rest. This one comes from Jake Bell, formerly of Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge fame, who went to San Diego and had a conversation about me.

With Jim Balent.

Which led to this:



So that’s what I got for my birthday, and clearly, they’re presents that we can all enjoy.

But mostly me.

Because they’re mine.

In Retrospect, #53 Wasn’t So Bad

Out of the 1572 posts I’ve done on the ISB, the one where I review the issue of the Project Fanboy Award-winning Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose where the Skeleton man does battle with a haunted vagina is far and away the most popular.

Six months later, however, and I’ve got a confession to make: As popular as that post is, it’s partially based on a lie. The line “You have to get out of here! Your vagina is haunted!”, while quite possibly the most brilliant thing to come out of Tarot, is certainly not the worst.

For that, we have to go to this one.



Yes, January 2007’s Tarot #42, which features a story called “Hex in the City,” a pun that in some countries would be punishable by law.

Instead, we’re in store for for 22 pages of a story that opens with this, a piece that art historians will someday refer to as Skeleton Man in Repose:



This is, of course, cemetery caretaker Jon Webb, alias Skeleton Man. He’s Tarot’s boyfriend, and is also The Worst Super-Hero Ever, whose powers include seeing ghosts, making them solid, and lounging around in full-blown splay. His function in Tarot generally seems to be limited to having things explained to him, comic relief, and the occasional kidnapping, which sort of gives credence to the idea that Jim Balent really is subverting the usual male and female roles in comics, and is pulling off the greatest Tony Clifton act in comics history, an interesting theory that is only contradicted by everything else about the comic. Incidentally, Jon also looks exactly like Jim Balent, who I heard used to make his living as a gravedigger before breaking into art.

Meanwhile, Tarot, the de facto star of the book, is of course naked and having trouble sleeping, due to a vision that she had of one of the tarot cards from which she takes her name. This time around, it was The Tower, and in the complex, mystical language of magick, that represents… a tower.

Like, a literal one.

Blowing up.

In New York City.



And if you think that’s the part that’s bad, then brother, buckle up. We’re not even close yet.

Anyway, after some hemming and hawing about not wanting to take her inept boyfriend off on one of her adventures, Tarot and Jon decide to head to New York, and suit up. Jon of course is in full regalia in the space of one panel, but Tarot, as you might imagine by this point, puts on her mask, gloves, boots, and cape before the panties and bra that make up the rest of her costume. Why? Because getting dressed the way she wants to is more empowering, especially if she’s sitting with her legs spread perpendicular to her torso while she does it.

She does eventually finish getting dressed though, and before long it’s off to the source of all their trouble:



“Kitty City! The name that the Three Little Kittens call their headquarters!” Cool sentence, bro!

I’ve mentioned the 3 Little Kittens before, but for those of you just joining us, here’s a refresher:

Back in 2002, right around the time that Tarot was being moved behind the counter in a lot of stores due to adult content, Jim Balent expanded the BroadSword Comics Universe with a three-issue series starring an ersatz Charlie’s Angels trio in cat-themed fetish outfits named Catress, Jaguara, and–sigh–“Kitty Pop,” with “Mommy Cat” standing in for Bosley.

The story involved a rejected Kitten named Latex Red whose jealousy over Catress’s larger bust–breast-jealousy being the driving force in the BroadSword universe–prompted her to get implants that are ridiculously huge even by Balentine standards, put on a devil-themed fetish costume, recruit a gang of “Satanic Cheerleaders,” and seek revenge. It was, of course, promoted as “An All-Ages Adventure Comic.”

Sadly, that was their only feature, but they have made a couple of appearances in Tarot, most notably in the story where they’re transporting Saddam Hussein through Salem on Halloween.

And now you’re back up to speed, although it’s entirely possible that you wish you weren’t.

Thus, Tarot flies Jon up to the roof, and we get a good look at the very serious events that could result in disaster:



Yep. An all-out battle between the 3LK and Latex Red and her crew of flunkies, who are currently dressed in bikinis made of teddy bears and snapping taser-towels at each other in the culmination of more fetishes than I can count.

The fight–which includes both Latex Red attacking Catress’s breats with her riding crop for three panels in a row and Skeleton Man literally taking one of the bikini girls over his knee to give her a spanking–comes on the heels of the 3LK foiling a terrorist attack and taking possession of a nuclear bomb that Latex Red wants for herself, her own nuclear breast implants having been presumably removed after the events of Tarot #29–yes, really–but in the course of the fight…



…it gets activated.

Catress can’t disarm it, and Tarot, suffering from plot-induced power-loss, can’t do anything to help, which, at this point, might just be the most frustrating part of the story thus far. She has magical super-powers, but offers nothing but a lame excuse about how if she teleports the bomb, someone else’ll still have to deal with it. Which is sort of true, but seems like an odd limit on her abilities. Admittedly, teleporting it to the heart of the sun might be a bit out of her range, but if she could take it to “the Fairy Relam,” couldn’t she at least send that shit to Bikini Atoll or something? But no, she doesn’t, and it’s up to the Skeleton Man to save the day, which essentially means they’re screwed.

And then this happens.



The ghosts of the firefighters who died on 9/11 show up and defuse the bomb.

And then they make a pun about it.



The sound you just heard might’ve been the dull thud of your jaw hitting the floor.

The Tarot Experience: Live!

As I mentioned last night, I thought it might be a good idea to liveblog the latest issue of the inimitable Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose on Twitter as I read it, mostly because I love to find new and exciting ways to put off writing my posts.

In any case, people seemed to like it, so for those of you who missed out last night, I thought I’d go ahead and post an expanded version of it here. So please, join me tonight for Tarot #56: The Liveblogging Experience:


Page 0: Okay, here we go with TAROT #56. I got the cover where she wasn’t shyly covering her rack, ’cause it’s more empowering that way.


Page 1: Tarot wakes up and immediately starts masturbating. Meanwhile, a spider with a skull on it alights onto her breast. Seriously.


Page 2: Well, that’s a handy recap, for those of you who were finding the plot of Tarot to be a little too confusing.


Page 3: Behold! PLANET SLAYER!



Man, this comic is not very well lettered. (Sorry, Holly)


Page 4: Tarot talks about how she hopes the sun (you know, the one in the sky?) likes seeing her naked.


Page 5: That is one close-up shot of a vagina you’ve drawn there, Jimbo.


Page 6: “Though the world may ridicule women for the the size of our breasts, I will remember it is only a reflection of their immaturity and lack of education.” Touché, Tarot. Touché.


Page 8: Tarot has been taking a bath for five pages.




Page 10: “I guess that fairy doesn’t know the reputation Pooka has with chasing them. She’s messing with the wrong goblin cat.” Or, to put it another way…



Page 11: I’m not sure that one plays a pan-flute by just shoving one entire end in one’s mouth, but then again, it ain’t my comic.

Page 13: And thus, Tarot is bewitched by Pan to perform a striptease against her will. Remember that time that PREVIEWS said this was the most female-empowering book on the stands? Good times.


Page 14: That’s a hell of a description of an erection you’ve written there, Jimbo.



Page 16: Oh no wait, here’s the empowering part: “BACK OFF OR I WILL FRY YOUR HIDE!” “AHHHH, IT STINGS!” “GOOD! IT’S SUPPOSED TO!” And yes, that is actual, award-winning dialogue from what these guys have determined is the best independent comic book of 2008.


Page 18: And it is at this point that this issue of Tarot has officially become The Legend of Zelda With Tits.


Page 22: Gasp! Tarot’s cat has been stabbed by fairies! WITH POISON! This is the cliffhanger.


Page 23: And here’s a two-page article on “Tonya’s Kayos Magick,” with a bunch of pictures of a naked girl that I assume is Tonya. Oh hey, it’s about Sigil Working! You too can increase sales on The Invisibles with these handy steps!

And mercifully, that was the end.

AFD 2009: Chris’s Witchity Tarot Blog!

For April Fool’s Day, the ISB became chris’s witchity tarot blog, a fan-site for everyone’s favorite Broadsword Sword Broad. For the full effect, including the sidebars, check out how the site looked on AFD here.



hi everybody and welcome back to chris’s witchity tarot blog, the internet’s #1 fansite for Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose!! but while our focus around here is normally on the most magickal superheroine in comics, tonight, we’re putting the focus on another character…and this one’s for the ladies! lol!

say hello to Thornwic!



Thornwic makes his first appearance in Tarot #50 for the 3-part story “So Mote It Be!” he hasn’t appeared since, but if you ask the WTB, he’s clearly positioned to be Tarot’s next great adversary!! why?

1. much like peter o’toole, he’s one of the few men who can pull off a double-phallic name.

2. he’s obviously modeled after the wwe’s hunter hearst helmsley:



3. he’s tarot’s opposite number from the fairy realm!!!!!

now some people–mainly those self-important internet blowhards who just don’t “get it”–have their problems with Thornwic, because a lot of them don’t understand why Tarot often goes around fighting evil skyclad, while Thorny (as we call him in my fanfic circles) wears more clothes than anyone else in the series when he’s her equivalent from another realm!! well duh, if you actually read the book, you’d know that in the fairy realm, everyone’s naked all the time, so wearing clothes there is actually just like being naked in the mortal realm!!! so it’s completely the same!!!

besides, naked dudes are gross.

n-e-way, Thorny shows up because there’s this kid who has been pinning fairies to display like a butterfly collector, and we all learn that on a fairy’s body, the breasts are the last thing to decompose (NSFW!!!!!!!!!!!)

this is of course a great crime against the fairy realm, and so Thorny decides he’s going to kill the boy and his family as punishment. that might seem a little harsh, but, well, just take a look at this guy’s moustache and tell me THAT’s not a crime against the fairy realm too:



Tarot of course sees it as her duty to protect mortals–even the ones who hate and fear her, which is probably the most totes original idea in comics evar!!–and so she decides to step in before Thornwic can deliver a devastating pedigree and/or sledgehammer shot to the family, and she has an awesome fight with him in the next issue that starts off with some serious magick!!



UNLIMITED POWER!!!!! lol i love that movie!!

anyway, after some spells get thrown around, the duel moves to swords, and Tarot discovers that not only does her male counterpart actually get to wear clothes, but he’s better at fighting too! so much better, in fact, that he’s able to strip Tarot completely naked while they’re fighting with swords, just to humiliate her before he moves in for the kill!



of course, Tarot’s still our heroine, and she’s not going to go down that easily! so before he can deliver the killing strike, he’s distracted by the fact that Tarot, at the edge of death, has become super aroused!!!



and then she’s rescued by her boyfriend.



and then they have sex in front of her sister. oh, and that family that she was fighting to save? Thornwic had them killed by being crucified before the fight even started. so i guess when you look at it, over the course of three issues, Tarot manages to accomplish…

…well, i’m not sure, but i bet it was empowering!!!!